Skip to content

Public recognition could be a case of mistaken identity

Neighbourly Advice According to Ed: He even makes the deaf hear, and the mute speak
Helping Hands
Jesus tried to escape the pressures of public recognition, but even in a non-Jewish area he was called upon to heal the sick.

Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan, likes to be recognized as a farmer and was recently mistaken for a farm machinery salesperson. Ed was looking over the farm implements up for sale at a farm auction, and a fellow called him Archie. The fellow asked Ed if he was still selling John Deere machinery at South Country in Weyburn.

Ed was quick to tell the person his name wasn’t Archie and that he was a farmer from near Melville and no salesperson. Ed said he never was and never would be a salesman. The fellow’s wife said to her husband, “I told you it wasn’t Archie. Archie is always well dressed and way younger.”

I asked Ed, “What is wrong with being a salesman?” My old neighbour said that if I didn’t know, he wouldn’t tell me. It seems to me that being a salesperson can mean you are recognized as helpful, knowledgeable and trustworthy in your dealings. But, on the other hand, it could also mean that a few salespeople will not be helpful, knowledgeable or reliable, but they will need to move on to another line of work.

We may get recognized by what we do and also who we are. However, our degree of recognition is often limited to family, friends, our job or profession or the sports we play. Jesus might not have received much public attention on Earth. There were countless rabbis before Jesus and after him with disciples who had little public recognition or acclaim. There is an interesting account of Jesus going to the region of Tyre and Sidon to rest and get away from the public pressures of his preaching, teaching and healing the sick and demon possessed.

The region of Tyre and Sidon was not a Jewish area. Jesus went there so he wouldn’t be recognized as he hoped to hide away for a time. But Jesus was too famous to be left alone. A Gentile woman came to Jesus immediately after Jesus entered the house where he came to rest.

An unclean spirit possessed her little girl. The woman had heard of how this Jewish rabbi could heal those who suffered from demon possession, and she was determined not only that Jesus could help her daughter, but she would not be put off if Jesus seemed reluctant to help her daughter. She acknowledged that Jesus as a Jew was to minister to and to heal Jewish people. The woman had faith that Jesus could spare some crumbs of healing for her non-Jewish daughter. Jesus was impressed with the woman’s faith in him, and he healed her daughter. Jesus’s healing of the demon-possessed girl confirmed that he was more than a rabbi but also the Son of God able to heal the suffering.

After returning from the region of Tyre, Jesus travelled to the area of the Decapolis. There he was begged to heal a man who was deaf and who also had a speech impediment. Jesus cured the man of his deafness and enabled him to be able to speak plainly. People were astonished beyond measure, and Jesus’s public reputation grew as people said of him, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear, and the mute speak.”